Today we’re starting a new series where we hear from our guests on the real trips they took. We’ve still got our sample itineraries up, but we’d like to show a few examples from people who actually did it! So, we’re calling it How They Got Lost, and a few times this summer on the blog we’ll be featuring interviews and discussions with guests on how their trips went: where they took their vans, what they saw, what the highlights and challenges were.

In this first installment, we’re featuring Nicole and Anthony, who rented a van from us in mid-May, and took it more than 1900 miles for an epic 9-day adventure that spanned Alaska and Canada’s Yukon Territory. After they returned the van, they were kind enough share a little bit via email about where they went and what they did, in the hopes of inspiring more travelers to take an adventure off the beaten path like theirs.

(I did edit the responses slightly – just enough to fit in with the flow of the narrative.)

Now over to Nicole and Anthony:


Give us a brief overview of your itinerary:

Day 1 – Anchorage to Talkeetna, grabbed beers at Denali Brewery. We were tired and had 2 nights in Denali booked starting the next day, but if we did it again, we’d probably go straight to Denali from Anchorage.

Day 2 & 3 – Talkeetna to Denali and a full day in Denali, with lots of back country hiking.

Day 4 – Denali to Fairbanks to Tok. We would have taken the Top of the World highway from Fairbanks to Dawson City if it was open yet – still happy this way! We stopped at Fairbanks for some lunch and walk by the river. The rest stop at mile 1289 is amazing: Next to the highway but elevated for an isolated feel, beautiful view and clean restrooms!

Day 5 – Tok to Kluane NP. We stayed at Kathleen Lake campground just by Haines Junction and hiked King’s Throne.

Day 6 & 7 – Kluane to Whitehorse and a full day in Whitehorse. So much to do in Whitehorse, drove down to Carcross and back, saw the Carcross Desert, Emerald Lake, Bennet Lake and Nares Lake had gold dust in it.

Day 8 – Whitehorse to Tok to Glenallen. Just driving this day. We made some stops for glacier and mountain views along the Wrangell-St.Elias range.

Day 9 – Glenallen to Anchorage. We were mostly focused on cleaning up the van without any rush and drop off.

Drive Fairbanks to Tok © Anthony Menei

What were the highlights of your trip?

Denali and Kluane were amazing – the best views and phenomenal hiking. Family in Whitehorse was a ton of fun!

Were there any unexpected challenges to deal with? How did you manage to overcome them?

The water pump not engaging after the first refill. We emailed and had a response the next morning troubleshooting the problem and solving our issue right away!

What advice or tips do you have for other travelers who might want to do something similar?

Download podcasts for the long drive and stop every 2-3 hours for a short walk or stretch. It breaks up the day and makes time go by much quicker. There is so much variety in podcasts today – we recommend “Stuff You Should Know” but there are many comedians or short stories to listen to.

What memory from your trip do will you take with you forever?

Back country hiking in Denali, hands down.

(The video has no sound.)


Take a look at Nicole and Anthony’s travel blog, Hiking and History. They’re on an epic adventure around the world, and Alaska was just one leg of a world tour they have planned for the next year and a half. We are absolutely honored to have been a small part of such an amazing trip!

Thanks for renting a travel van, Nicole and Anthony, and we wish you well on your adventures. May there be much hiking in your future!

And if you’re thinking about following in their footsteps, it’s easy! Book your van now, and you’ll soon be on your way! Follow the How They Did It series on this blog for more on the places you can go in a travel van.

All photos © Anthony Menei